A good warm-up routine would be increasing our breathing and heart rate which will be increasing the energy-releasing reactions in the muscles and increasing blood flow the muscle to feed them with more oxygen and to remove waste products such as carbon dioxide, water, salts, urea and uric acid but it won't happen straight away.
Our body requires a few minutes to reach those levels. So the purpose of a warm-up is to prepare our body gradually, starting with an easy level of activities and increasing the intensity gradually. If we were to start exercising at a high level without a warm-up, our body wouldn't be ready for the higher demands which may cause injury and unnecessary fatigue.
So what is a warm-up?
A warm-up usually is some gentle exercise that gradually increases in intensity.
Do we do warm-up exercise to get warm? Not in that sense exactly.
Warm-up exercises would increase blood flow to the muscles, which enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients and ultimately produce more force. It would also prepare muscles for stretching;
prepares the heart for an increase in activity, and makes us ready mentally for the upcoming exercise by preparing nerve-to-muscle connections and prevents unnecessary stress and fatigue on muscles and heart.
A good indication is warming up to the point where you have a light sweat. If you’re exercising for general fitness, do about 5-10 minutes of warm-ups.
If you are exercising at a higher level than for general fitness, or have a particular sporting goal in mind, you may need a longer warm-up and one that is designed specifically for your sport like myself that I used to prepare for a boxing sparing session and so on so forth.
Any stretching is best performed after your muscles are warm, so only stretch after your general warm-up. Stretching muscles when they are cold and dense may lead to a tear. Stretching during a warm-up can include some slow, controlled circling movements at key joints, such as shoulder rolls, but the stretches should not be forced or done at a speed that may stretch the joints, muscles and tendons beyond their normal length.
There are many exercises that you do to warm up your muscles and joints before starting your main workout but Dynamic Stretching or Active Movements are the ones that you should be picking which are taking your body through ranges of motion that will better prepare you for your workout or sporting activity.
Static stretching is the opposite. It’s where you hold a stretch for an extended period of time.
When I worked as the Personal Trainer and Boxing Coach in the gym, I had the importance of dynamic warm-up exercises drilled into my client's heads. Every class and session we had a good 10-15 minutes dynamic warm-up and it made a huge difference in preventing injuries and increasing their performance.
What Is a Good Dynamic Warm-up?
A good dynamic warm-up should be including the followings:
a light aerobic warm-up
soft tissue massage on a foam roller (optional)
dynamic warm-up exercises (dynamic stretching)
Every workout needs to start with an activity that will raise your core temperature and make your muscles more elastic for the coming workout. Doing some light jogging, biking, or anything else for about 5-10 minutes that increases your heart rate/temperature is what you need to start with.
Now that your body is warm, at this stage, the goal isn’t to stretch, but rather to go through dynamic stretching movements that will progressively loosen your muscles and lubricate your joints.
Examples of dynamic warm-up movements include walking lunges, inchworms, push-ups, leg swings, and pretty much any other bodyweight movement that incorporates a certain degree of flexibility, strength, and range of motion. Below, I’ve put some of the best dynamic warm-up exercises you should be doing before you workout:
Bent Over 'Y' Raises:
Bend forward at the waist keeping a straight back not rounded. Let your arms drop toward the floor. Draw your navel towards your spine and squeeze your glutes for spinal stabilization. Raise arms keeping thumbs pointed up at the ceiling or sky as shown in the video. do for the desired sets and reps.
With arms perpendicular to the floor, feet anchored and legs active, draw the chest forward and up pull out of the lower back and into the upper back
Draw the shoulders back while rooting down through the inner hand
Once the thoracic spine is mobilized,
raise the gaze and curve your neck if you can. hold for 5 slow and deep breath or desired time.
exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. At first, keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and press it lightly toward the pubis. Against this resistance, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling, and from your inner ankles draw the inner legs up into the groins. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the head between the upper arms; don't let it hang.
in your “T” formation face toward the floor, bend your right elbow so that your forearm is perpendicular to the ground, roll your body to the left so that your right heel comes across your body to meet your left hand. Return and repeat to the other side. Go for 10 reps and you’ll feel your obliques, hip flexors, and quads open up nicely.
you can do this stretching statically as your cooling down exercise simply by holding your self on one side for 5 slow and deep breath or desired time shown in this video.
On the ground, set your hands at a distance that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your feet should be set up in a way that feels right and comfortable and in balance. For some, that might be shoulder-width apart.
Think of your body as one unit, from the top of your head down through your heels. Your butt shouldn’t be sticking way up in the air or sagging. You’re essentially holding a plank throughout the entire movement. If you have a problem getting the proper form with your body, squeeze your butt, and then tighten your abs as if you’re bracing to get punched. Your core will be engaged, and your body should be in that straight line. Your head should be looking slightly ahead of you, not straight down. With your arms straight, butt clenched, and abs braced, steadily lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle or less. Try not to let your elbows go way out with each repetition. Keep them relatively close to your body, and keep a note of when they start to fly out when you get tired.
Once your chest touches the floor (or your arms go down to a 90-degree angle), pause slightly and then explode back up until you’re back in the same position. repeat the above for the desired reps. if your wrist hurts while doing push-ups, try to use a push-up bar or a yoga block so that you can rest your fingers on without compromising your correct form.
Hand Walk Out or Inchworms:
These are a slight progression from the Vinyasa Flows (up and downward dog) and possibly my favourite dynamic exercise of all time. They target the entire backside of your body and open up a lot of muscles that get stiff with prolonged sitting. It’s actually a dynamic version of vinyasa flow yoga.
To get started: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend at the waist to place your hands on the floor.
With your legs as straight as possible(bend them if your hamstrings are tight), walk your hands forward while keeping your core contracted or braced.
Once you get into a high plank position without your butt sticking way up or sagging, hold for a moment, then walk your hands back towards your feet.
Repeat for the desired reps.
Hip Opener with Torso Rotations
in this video, I'm demonstrating a few good movements to warm up and prepare myself to do a boxing session which requires a good shoulder and hip mobility in order to have a productive session. I am starting this routine by hand walkout then upward dog into downward dog into high plank and then into Hip Opener with Torso Rotation by the in a push-up position and bring one foot in right outside of your elbow so that my knee is by my side, but now I am going to rotate the back foot so that it’s flat on the floor and then I am going to twist and open up to the side. This is a great dynamic exercise to continue targeting the muscles of hips through the rotation. then I am adding upward dog with hip rocks, the downward dog with back leg raises, baby pose with lat stretch, hip flexor's stretch and over-head reach and twist and hamstring stretch. the list can go on and on but don't forget this is a warm-up routine and it should warm you up for your main workout and not making you fatigued.
I hope you have an injury-free session. If you need my help to design a programme and workout plan to lose weight and stubborn fat, get you leaner and stronger, click here to leave your details and I will contact you for a free and no sweating consultation.